Gavioli 89 Key No 2
This fine instrument with its richly carved facade, 350 organ pipes, bass drum, snare drum, two bellringers, xylophone and cymbals all operate by folding cardboard music. Built by the firm Gavioli that was founded in 1806 in Italy and moved to Paris in 1845 until their demise in 1910. The most famous and prolific of fair organ builders, they also had a large factory in Waldkirch, Germany. It is from here that this organ originated in the early 1900s. Referred to by collectors as a “Black Forest Gavioli”. The organ’s history is fascinating. The inside of the reservoir is lined with Gavioli ledger sheets of 1854 and the signature of the organ builder renovating the organ in 1906 is throughout.
The fairgrounds were dusty and the organs worked long hours with little or no skilled maintenance, so it was usual for a major overhaul every ten years. We have not been able to establish early history but know that a Mr Johan Kunkels of Roermond, Holland purchased the organ in the early 1920s and was still travelling with the organ in a ride called the Auto Bahn in the 1930s. At approximately the same time, Mr Carl Frei Snr, who had worked for Gavioli was responsible for alterations. By all accounts, this resulted in one of the finest machines to travel Europe. The organ survived the Second World War and passed into the ownership of Emet Dauphine, a well-known showman of Utrecht, Holland. Mr Dauphine used the organ at different times in a new ride called the Sky Rocket and the now aging Auto Bahn. It was from here that Mr Ted Hopkins of Luna Park, Sydney purchased the Auto Bahn ride and organ in 1950. It was placed in the carousel at the entrance of the Park overlooking the harbour. By 1980, the organ was lying derelict under the Coney Island Slides. From here the organ was acquired by Mr Ken Beech of Burleigh Heads, Queensland, who set about the mammoth task of restoration. By 1987 this had been completed and the organ had passed into the ownership of Mr Norm Douglas of Albury, New South Wales. In 1994 we acquired the organ and after further research and restoration, it is now presented for your enjoyment in its finest condition since the early 1900s playing both from cardboard music and MIDI.”